President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the coronavirus vaccine deliveries will begin as early as next week.
“The whole world is suffering and we are rounding the curve,” Trump said. “And the vaccines are being delivered next week or the week after.”
The president gave the good news during a special Thanksgiving Day video message to U.S. troops stationed oversees, Fox News reported. Trump said that front-line workers, medical personnel, and senior citizens would be prioritized to receive the vaccine first.
He also said former Vice President Joe Biden should not be given credit for the vaccines, saying, “the vaccines were me.”
“Joe Biden failed with the swine flu, H1N1, totally failed with the swine flu,” Trump said. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before and we got that approved and through and nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”
Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership initiated by the Trump administration to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. The Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies partnered with private drug manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer to fund the development and industrial manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are upwards of 12.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States and more than 263,000 people have died of causes related to COVID-19.
During Trump’s video conference, he noted that two companies have “already announced” vaccines that have shown effectiveness in trials and that “third, fourth and fifth ones are coming up soon.”
The president was referring to Moderna and Pfizer, which have each published studies showing their respective vaccines are 95% effective. Last Friday, Pfizer applied for emergency authorization from the Food & Drug administration to begin the manufacturing and distribution of its vaccine. The FDA is set to meet on Dec. 10 to review Pfizer’s request.
AstraZeneca has also reported preliminary results that show its vaccine is between 62% and 90% effective depending on the dosage given to patients in clinical trials.
The Trump administration is hopeful that soon after vaccine distribution begins, tens of millions of Americans will receive vaccinations and life can begin to return to normal. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said last Sunday that the United States could reach herd immunity by May 2021.